LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Family members of an unarmed young black man slain by two Sacramento policemen last year sued the officers and the city on Monday for wrongful death, claiming racial profiling and use of excessive force.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento by the parents, grandparents and children of shooting victim Stephon Clark, 22, seeks damages in excess of $20 million.
Representatives for the city of Sacramento could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday. It was not clear if the two police officers named in the lawsuit, Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet, had retained attorneys.
Clark was gunned down on the night of March 18, 2018 in his grandparents’ backyard by police responding to a report that someone was breaking windows.
Police officials said the officers, who fired 20 shots at Clark, feared he had a gun. But he was found to have been holding only a cellphone.
Clark’s death came amid a string of fatal shootings of black men by police that have triggered protests across the United States and renewed a national debate about bias in the U.S. criminal justice system.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb